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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Hi Don,
    There's no white foam in the bottle. Also, no water in the oil. So far I have replaced the radiator, thermostat and the headgaskets. Have not replaced the water pump only because it's making no noise. My thoughts are to do a slow fill of the system with just water, the remove the output side of the hose from engine to radiator to see if water is indeed being pushed thru the engine. I did try forcing water back thry=u the engine via the output side but all I got was a lot of wet rags and water spewing back out of the hose. Saw very little water (trickle) coming out of the inpu side (lower left side of engine. Talked to a certified subaru mechanic. He said that water should have flowed from top to bottom without that much restriction? So, will fill it up and run it without the output hose disconnected to see what happens.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    "I did try forcing water back thry=u the engine via the output side but all I got was a lot of wet rags and water spewing back out of the hose. Saw very little water (trickle) coming out of the inpu side (lower left side of engine."

    Wait, you did this with the thermostat removed on the input side and you still only got a trickle? There should have been a steady flow of as much water as you put in... no resistance. You definitely have a block somewhere. When the head gaskets were being replaced, did you or anyone check the coolant manifold to see if it may be gummed up somehow? I'd sure hate for the blockage to be in the engine block or heads.... :cry:
  • wilkichwilkich Posts: 52
    A couple of the posts were very helpful in getting my gasket/seal issue answered. The question now is whether it's worth the two grand total for the 90k service and the seal/gasket fix. We use the car for commuting now but at the end of the school year (late June), our 97 OB with 91k miles will essentially be used very little over the summer and we will begin commuting in our Pilot next school year. (Oddly, the gas mileage is about the same in both vehicles but that's another issue :confuse: )

    One thought is to let it die and buy a another car when we absolutely need it. (Possibly in about a year) Right now, I just can't see putting the $ into a car we will rarely be using. However, on the other hand, we could do all the fixes and have a car that runs another 100,000 miles. I guess the real question is what's the worse case scenario if the front engine seals go? Is it worth taking the chance over the next couple of months?

  • u136646u136646 Posts: 17
    New to this forum. But has anyone discussed the hot rubbery smell that comes from an 2000 Outback of this age. Had local dealer look it up and down with no luck. Some say it may be the catalytic converter. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Car runs fine with 95K on it. Just smells sometimes.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The descriptor "hot rubbery smell" just is not clicking anything in my brain, but is it extremely pungent... somewhat like fresh tar? That could be a front differential leaking onto the exhaust system. I guess I just need more, or alternate, info. :blush:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Well, if you are not going to use it much, then perhaps it is not worth the fix... but if you planned to replace it with another car that would be used no more than it, then I still say it would unless you plan to buy a used $2K car. The likelihood of the gaskets/seals up and failing on you in the next two months or even a year are slim.

    To give you a comparison, my cam seals and valve cover gaskets (I think you have the same things leaking on yours) began leaking (noticably) about 3 months after I drove my car home from the dealership (Russ-Dean Ford in Pasco, WA). Mistakenly for me, I assumed competency at this dealership since my father had made many (new vehicle) dealings with them in the past without incident. But, they had overfilled the oil by AT LEAST a quart! Well, needless to say that even after discovering the problem only 300 miles into my ownership, it was too late. At first they just leaked a little (Oct '00), but by July of '03 I was having to put 3 quarts of oil in between every fuel up! That is about 1 quart every 100 miles. I was finally able to secure a friend's garage for a week to pull the engine and make the necessary repairs. This increase in leakage was gradual - there were no big jumps - but constant.

    So, I imagine the course you are on to be similar to this. This is a scheduled repair, not an emergency. I would take that over a headgasket failure anyday! ;)
  • kevinfockevinfoc Posts: 2
    Vehicle has 108K. When backing up and turning, I hear a low freq. grumbling noise that appears to be coming from the rear. I do not hear this when moving forward. Reading this forum, I have read about problems with the differential that might be causing this. Others have told me it might be the CV's. Any possible thoughts?
  • guzda53guzda53 Posts: 2
    My wife has a 2004 Outback Wagon. Tire size is 225x60-16. I have a great set of Camaro tires, size is 235 x 55 -16. anybody know if I can use 'em on the Subaru Outback?


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You'll need a complete replacement. The "daughter" unit is proprietary to the "parent" unit.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Change the gear oil in the rear diff, you'll know right away.

    It's easy, just 2 bolts.

    VERY IMPORTANT - open the TOP bolt first, that's the fill hole, and if you can't get it out and have drained what's in there, you won't be able to fill it up unless you flip your car upside down. :surprise:

    Inspect the fluid that you drain. I bet it's either clowdy, mikly, or black. It should have been changed twice by now but most people forget.

    I had fluid in my Miata that looked more like milk chocolate than oil. At the time it was 8 years old, and just 26k miles, but still it was nasty.

    Look there first. You only need 1 quart, about $4, so that's the cheap fix to try first. You may need an hand-held oil pump, about $8.

  • kevinfockevinfoc Posts: 2
    Thanks for the quick response. I will try your recommendations, because I don't think the last services I had on the vehicle included checking the diff oil; and your recommendations will be a lot less expensive than a new diff.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's certainly worth a try.

    Found some instructions for you, this should be similar:

    You need one quart of 75w90 or 80w90.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    I don't know about '93 Subarus, but my 2000 diffy fill & drain plugs had a 1/2" (half inch) square "socket" (female). The proper wrench is a 1/2" breaker bar. They are often very tight from the factory.

    Removing the plug was: position the breaker bar, set a jack to the handle of the breaker bar, raise the jack hoping the plug breaks free, if not, bounce on the car to apply additional downward pressure ... repeat the process with the drain plug. (It'll be much easier the next time around.)

    Oh, if the breaker bar has too much play in the plug, use shims to reduce the play.


  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    diameter is actually smaller on your Camaro tires so thats ok except your speedo will be slightly off but not by anything significant.
    width may be a problem though with rubbing issues, the 235s seem almost an inch wider than the 225s on most tire models of that size they carry at Tirerack which is surprising.
  • subarujonsubarujon Posts: 13
    Okay, I knew this would get some attention...I mean I finally changed the oil in my 2003 Outback LL Bean MYSELF. I had the free dealer oil changes upfront and then I just let the dealer or just recently the quick change places do it. I thought the process of squeezing underneath the Subie and struggling with the drain plug and oil filter would be too frustrating, but I was wrong. It was a snap. Everything was very accessible from under the front bumper. One hassle....those plastic clips on the splash pan. What is the most efficient way to pop those puppies out....prying with the screwdriver worked but there must be a better way. And then trying to reinsert the things...they are stubborn.



    P.S. I still long for the days with the old Subies that you could put in true 4WD lo and hi.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Talk about attention grabbing headlines!

    Get a mini screwdrive under the center portion and pull out first, then pull put the body. Replace in reverse order - body first, then push in center to spread the tines.

  • firstovfirstov Posts: 31
    When I opened my LLBean hood and turned on AC I hear very loud high pitched sound. The car is 3.5 years old w about 31K miles.
    The air from vents is not cold when AC is running, but I can hear it kick in when pushing AC button. Please help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    probably the two conditions are not related directly. If you AC clutch kicks in, you have at least SOME refrigerant in the system, but perhaps not enough. The high pitched noise could be a bearing in the idler pulley, if in fact your AC belt runs with an idler pulley. If it doesn't, some other accessory may use an idler pulley, such as power steering, etc.

    So I'd look for two separate problems here.


  • kerry2kerry2 Posts: 1
    Just this evening my '99 Outback's temp spiked HOT HOT with a slight clacking sound from the engine. I pulled over, raised the hood and (1) no leaks, (2) oil OK, (3) anitifeeze OK, and (4) no apparent wiring disconnects. When it cooled, I restarted "just for a minute" and it sounded OK, but towed it to the dealor "just in case".

    First problem I've ever had, save for that clacking below until the car warms up that everyone seems to get. Car has 145,000km on it. What do you think the dealor will say?
  • I replaced both front headlights after they both burned out last August with less than a year on the 2005 OB. Now one burned out again.
    WHAT is going on?
    It's under warranty... but still.... it's the weekend and if I am pulled over, I only get 24 hours to fix it.
    I'm not going to pay for it myself after seeing how expensive they are.
    Subaru should give us extra bulbs to keep in the car.
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